So, you’ve applied for an exciting new job and have been invited to interview, you think you’ve prepared well and you’re confident that you have what it takes to do the job. However, have you thought about the possible impact of your body language during an interview and what you might need to consider to ensure you will be perceived well by a potential employer? In the latest of our monthly columns for the South Wales Echo, Recruitment Consultant Arran Lewis suggests a couple of ways you can make sure that your body language doesn’t work against you.
We all know that body language does influence how others might perceive us and in an interview there are so many additional mannerisms that can impact the outcome. So much so, it’s worth taking extra special care to make sure that the attitude of your body matches what your mouth is telling. I’ve pulled together seven key tips to ensure the body language you choose to use makes a lasting impression:
First things first, an interview might not officially start until you’re seated but it’s key to remember that you’re making an impression from the very moment you arrive. Even in the reception or lobby, make sure that you are polite, smile and sit up straight. Everyone you meet in the company will form an opinion of you almost instantly and you never know who might have a say in hiring decisions.
Chances are when your interviewer meets you, they will shake your hand. Over the years a lot has been written about the perfect way to shake hands and while there is no definitive right and wrong, it is important to have a strong and confident handshake. However, don’t go overboard; too tight a grip can be seen as aggressive, just make sure that you adopt a firm hold and look up to engage the person with your eyes and your smile as you greet them.
Smiling, as expected, is very important. You might be nervous but try to smile when you greet the person interviewing you. Throughout the duration of the interview, be attentive and always smile, within reason - it will make you seem open, warm and really help to create a positive first impression. Smiling will also encourage others to be warmer towards you, which will help put you at ease.
If you avoid eye contact, you may look like you’re insecure, or at worse, being rude. There’s no need to stare, just make sure that you always address your comments, answers or feedback to the person who asked the question. If your answer is more detailed and takes a little longer to complete, then trying looking at the other interviewers also, to make sure they feel included in your response and that you’re trying to engage with them all.
When you’re being interviewed, even if it isn’t your turn to speak, it is important to look engaged, with whoever is talking. You can do this in a couple of simple ways; sit up straight, lean in slightly when someone is asking a question and nod when another person is speaking to show that you are paying attention.
Nerves aside, it’s important that you don’t fiddle, either with something on the table in front of you or with you hair, nails or face. Try not to cross your arms under your chest, this may give the indication that you are closed off, defensive and struggle to concentrate – try and keep your hands in view if at all possible. Fidgeting might be a habit you do without thinking but to an interviewer, it may seem that you aren’t engaged with what is happening. Keep both your feet firmly on the floor and stay focused.
Most of all, try and relax. If you have got this far, your interviewers have already decided that you’re capable of doing the job. So, keep calm, smile and be enthusiastic – this will in turn, create a lasting and positive impression for a prospective employer, whatever the outcome.
Arran Lewis works for Acorn as Recruitment Consultant for our company’s Global Division, placing candidates from the UK across the world.